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Does the Debt Tax Shield Distort Ownership Efficiency?

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Abstract

The tax laws of most developed countries are debt biased since firms can deduct interest on debt but not on equity. This bias is known to distort investment decisions. However, less is known about how the debt tax shield affects the ownership of assets when bidders differ financial expertise and thus in optimal use of leverage. We show that the debt tax shield need not always distort ownership efficiency. Assets end up with the socially preferred owner when differences in financial and productive expertise between bidders are small and better financial expertise reduces expected bankruptcy costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars & Tåg, Joacim, 2010. "Does the Debt Tax Shield Distort Ownership Efficiency?," Working Paper Series 841, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 22 Sep 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0841
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    1. Weisbach, Michael & Axelson, Ulf & Jenkinson, Tim & Stromberg, Per, 2008. "Leverage and Pricing in Buyouts: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 08-1, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
    2. Andreas Haufler & Christian Schulte, 2007. "Merger Policy and Tax Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 2157, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Becker, Johannes & Fuest, Clemens, 2011. "Source versus residence based taxation with international mergers and acquisitions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 28-40.
    4. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2008. "Tax Competition – Greenfield Investment versus Mergers and Acquisitions," CESifo Working Paper Series 2247, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Landsman, Wayne R. & Shackelford, Douglas A. & Yetman, Robert J., 2002. "The determinants of capital gains tax compliance: evidence from the RJR Nabisco leveraged buyout," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 47-74, April.
    6. Pehr-Johan Norbäck & Lars Persson & Jonas Vlachos, 2009. "Cross-border acquisitions and taxes: efficiency and tax revenues," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1473-1500, November.
    7. Sharon Katz, 2008. "Earnings Quality and Ownership Structure: The Role of Private Equity Sponsors," NBER Working Papers 14085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2010. "Taxing Foreign Profits With International Mergers And Acquisitions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(1), pages 171-186, February.
    9. Erik Devos & Palani-Rajan Kadapakkam & Srinivasan Krishnamurthy, 2009. "How Do Mergers Create Value? A Comparison of Taxes, Market Power, and Efficiency Improvements as Explanations for Synergies," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(3), pages 1179-1211, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Acquisitions; Capital Gains Tax; Corporate Tax; LBOs; Mergers and Acquisitions; Ownership; Private Equity; Tax Shields;

    JEL classification:

    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • L19 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Other
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure

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